During the early 1980’s Yvonne and I were part of a team from Youth With a Mission, Kona, Hawaii, that toured Singapore at Christmas time.
One year we all lived in class-rooms of a high school. We slept on the floor and washed and showered using hoses and buckets.
I remember Michelle Sherman, Yvonne and others in the team, taking on the challenge of finding turkeys to cook for a Christmas lunch that turned out to be memorable.
On that Christmas morning Dean Sherman and myself were preaching at two different churches. Members of the team joined us and we enjoyed the wonders and blessing of worshipping the Lord with enthusiastic believers.
My focus on these YWAM tours was to lead the team doing evangelism and being evangelists. As well as the corps group of adults from our discipleship training school, we had their children, coordinated into what we call The Crossroads Kings Kids.
They sang, danced and shared their testimonies in hospitals, shopping malls, schools, prisons and even in a leper colony.
One of our favorite spots was at the giant brightly lit and decorated Christmas tree in the heart of busy Orchard Road.
We prayed for opportunities to talk about Jesus to the people who crowded the area. Most often I teamed the YWAM youngsters as boy and girl, teams of two. If they had conversation with a girl, then the YWAM girl did the talking while the YWAM boy quietly prayed for wisdom and guidance in their witnessing.
Our son Craig was teamed with a young teen from Hawaii, Monica. As they prayer-walked the street, they came across a young woman sitting on a public bench. The girl looked depressed and unhappy.
Monica walked gently towards her and asked, ‘Are you OK?’
‘Are you an American?’ the distressed girl asked.
Very soon Monica and Carol had a conversation happening. “Do you mind if I talk to you about Jesus?” Monica requested. Carol wept. “Oh dear, this is amazing.’
This wonderful young lady had run away from home. Her parents divorced and she could not cope with the devastation. Her dad was a doctor and her mother, a school-teacher.
Carol ran away to Hong Kong but eventually ran out of money. She wanted to get away from her sad circumstances. In desperation she found she could work her way to Singapore on a merchant ship. That experience had been degrading and brought her to this Orchard Road encounter.
“I had just prayed. I said, ‘Lord, if you don’t make yourself real to me tonight, I will commit suicide.’ And then you turned up.” Carol told us.
We made arrangements for her to stay with our YWAM team. We also arranged for her to join a Youth With a Mission Discipleship Training School. Her fees were paid and her airfares covered.
Years later I was in Manila for a Billy Graham Conference. As I walked into a restaurant for lunch I heard a loud scream.
“Aaagh! Ron, oh, Ron!” she said and Carol ran into my arms. She was also in town for the Billy Graham programme.
I have always recalled her as my Christmas Carol. She is just another reason why Jesus is the answer.
Yvonne and I will be attending a carols service tonight. You can be certain we will take time to think of Carol and that miracle night in Singapore.